Erma Kathryn Cecelia Delores, daughter of Joseph and Mary (Goetzinger) Ruden, was born on July 18, 1931, on the family farm near Oyens, Iowa. Erma’s childhood years were spent farming with her family, including seven brothers and four sisters. During her teen years, Erma worked for a physician’s wife in Alton and a local beekeeper. Erma had many fond memories from these experiences which she often shared with her family. Erma graduated from St. Mary’s Academy in Alton in 1949.
Erma met Leland (“Lee”) Bush at a Christmas dance in 1949 at the Avalon Ballroom in Remsen. Lee soon told Erma she was whom he had been looking for. After meeting Erma, Lee’s mother advised him, “Don’t let her get away.” Erma and Lee were engaged in April and married August 2, 1950, at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Le Mars.
Erma and Lee moved to the Bush family farm in February 1951 where they raised their family, and she resided for over 66 years. Erma joined Visitation Maryhill Catholic Church upon her marriage, and she was an active member of the church. Erma sang in the choir, taught catechism, and oversaw the Maryhill Picnic one year. She also served on the guild, on the finance committee, as a Eucharistic minister, and as leader of the Renew group. After the Maryhill church blew down in 2006, Erma joined Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Cherokee where she was a member of the guild and Catholic Daughters.
Erma loved spending time with her family. She especially enjoyed seeing the growth and sharing in the lives of her grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Erma was a very good cook and baker. She made wholesome meals, including wonderful breads, rolls, and desserts. She always had the freezer stocked with homemade cookies and bars just in case company stopped by to visit. After taking community classes in ceramics and cake decorating, she made adorable figurines as gifts and beautifully decorated cakes for special events. Erma also enjoyed gardening, crocheting, traveling, and card club.
Erma was preceded in death her parents, Joseph and Mary; husband, Lee, in 2005; son, John in 2001 and children in infancy, Jared in 1966 and Lizbeth in 1974; grandson James Reinholdt; siblings and spouses, Silvius (Margie), Harold (Gracie), Wally (in service as an USN aviator during W.W. II), Ray (Lorraine), Joe (Bonnie), and Florence (Bernie) Madsen; and in-laws LeRoy Mousel, Melvin Von Arb, Robert Ahlers, and Larry Woll.
Those left to cherish Erma's memory are her children, Lynn (Don) Reinholdt of Pocahontas, Joan Bierman of Marcus, Arlene (Dave) Alesch of Marcus, Bob (Tami) Bush of Cherokee, Jake (special friend Kathy Rowray) Bush of Cedar Rapids, Jane (Jeff) Putzier of Boone, and Bill Bush of Cleghorn; daughter-in-law, Dian Bush of LeMars; 26 grandchildren; 45 great-grandchildren; siblings, Mary Ann Mousel, Eldon (Mildred) Ruden, Tom (Marva) Ruden, Cy Ahlers, and Jeanne Woll; special godchildren, nieces, nephews, other relatives, and friends.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests a contribution be made to your favorite charity.